Patterico's Pontifications

11/26/2019

A Tale of Two Books

Filed under: General — Dana @ 2:04 pm



[guest post by Dana]

Here are a couple of interesting news items involving books. They are not necessarily related, but are similar in that they involve high-profile individuals, books they authored, and politics

The first item involves a former Baltimore mayor:

Former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh pleaded guilty to federal conspiracy and tax charges on Thursday a day after she was indicted on numerous federal counts in an alleged scheme involving the publishing of her children’s books, officials announced.

Pugh, 69, allegedly defrauded customers of Healthy Holly books, a company she owned, for her own political and personal gain, including funding her mayoral run, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

In all, she earned $800,000 for book deals that Maryland’s chief accountant called “brazen, cartoonish corruption,” according to The Associated Press.

She is also accused of using funds from sales of fraudulently obtained Healthy Holly books to purchase, and then renovate, a house in Baltimore City, according to the statement.

She pled guilty to: “conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to defraud the United States, and two counts of tax evasion…The facts she stipulated to in her plea agreement with prosecutors included most of the allegations outlined in the 11-count indictment against her… They included her double-selling copies of her books to multiple buyers, hiding the proceeds from the Internal Revenue Service, and improperly funneling some of the funds into her mayoral campaign in 2016.”

What a piece of work:

[S]he was evading taxes on the income she received from the sales. In 2016, she allegedly claimed her income was $31,020 and the tax due was $4,168, when in fact, Pugh’s taxable income was $322,365, with an income tax due of approximately $102,444.

Behind every Healthy Holly lurks a very unhealthy author.

The next item involves the RNC and Donald Trump, Jr.:

Donald Trump Jr.’s new book, Triggered, hit the top of the New York Times’ bestsellers list this month with the help of nearly $100,000 in purchases from the Republican National Committee.

Federal Election Commission records list a $94,800 payment — identified as “donor mementos” — to BooksAMillion.com on Oct. 29. That same day, the president’s son signed an RNC fundraising email promising signed copies of the book to those who contribute at least $50 to the party. “This limited-time opportunity ends SOON,” Trump Jr. wrote, “so be sure to claim your signed copy of my new book NOW.”

The FEC filing was first noticed by a New York Times reporter. RNC spokesperson Michael Joyce confirmed the expense in an email to BuzzFeed News.

“We have netted $500,000 for the party fundraising off the book,” Joyce added.

An RNC official told BuzzFeed News earlier this month that there hadn’t been “a large bulk purchase,” but that the party was “ordering copies to keep up with demand.”

“Using books as a means to fundraise is standard practice from political parties on both sides of the aisle,” the official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, added at the time. “Triggered has been very popular among our supporters, helping us raise funds to support the reelection effort.”

The report goes on to say that if the RNC just wanted to resell the books, they could have gotten the books directly from the publisher for far less money. Why pay the higher price to BooksAMillion for the books? Well, to make it look like these were “real” sales.

If you donate to the RNC (or DNC, for that matter), it behooves you to find what your hard-earned money is supporting.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

12 Responses to “A Tale of Two Books”

  1. Hello.

    Dana (cb74ca)

  2. Interesting:

    Less than a week after Baltimore’s former mayor pleaded guilty to conspiracy and tax evasion, a City Council committee pushed forward with legislation that would impose stricter financial disclosure rules on elected officials.

    But after several city agencies testified the bill went too far, the council amended it to raise the threshold for what lawmakers would be required to report.

    Councilman Ryan Dorsey’s bill calls for elected officials — including the mayor, the City Council president, the comptroller and council members — to disclose the clients of any company in which they own a 30% stake.

    Originally, Dorsey wanted city leaders to report the name of anyone who paid the business $20 or more. Doing so, he said, “closes the loophole” in city financial disclosure law that allowed then-Mayor Catherine Pugh to sell her self-published “Healthy Holly” children’s books without revealing that her customers included companies with business before the city.

    Dana (cb74ca)

  3. I have always wondered if these books by politicians are nothing more than a means to funnel money to them. Did anybody buy copies of Bernie’s books which have made him a millionaire times 2 or 3? Or did some well heeled supporter buy a bunch of copies and give them away or throw them in a landfill? Just a disguised way to funnel money to Bernie, Cory Booker, Kamela Harris, Liz Warren, to name a few who have earned north of $500,000 from book sales. I don’t know anyone, including my liberal friends that admits to buying a copy of any of their books.

    Ray Battaglia (87435c)

  4. I bought decision point.
    FWIW.

    Time123 (fa79cc)

  5. I have always wondered if these books by politicians are nothing more than a means to funnel money to them.

    You may not be old enough to remember Jim Wright, who used a book he had written for that exact purpose. Had to step down from his post as House Speaker.

    Chuck Bartowski (6fff93)

  6. I know a high school book students’ book club which got ten (10) free copies of Michelle Obama’s book, from somebody who …? Yes, yes, it is a way to funnel money to politicians.

    And not only politicians. True story: A long time ago — when the dollar was still worth 63 cents, that’s how long — a Chicago cop used to sell pencils to motorists he had stopped for traffic violations. He had a price range for them. He would tell the motorist “This calls for a $5/$10/20 pencil” (told you it was a log time ago).

    nk (dbc370)

  7. Speakers’ honoraria (speech fees) on the other hand are not. Or, at least, not necessarily so. That’s more a matter of “star power” in the conference industry. People organize a conference, for whatever reason in whatever industry, and need a speaker. Obama will command a higher fee than Hillary who will command a higher fee than Tulsi. The way Meryl Streep will command a higher fee than Sandra Bullock who will command a higher fee than Ana de Armas in a theater production.

    nk (dbc370)

  8. I’m shocked, SHOCKED that fraudulent book sales are going on here.

    Speaker Jim Wright (19357e)

  9. At least Books-a-Million stocked them. Bet you the Mayor’s gooks were special order.

    Kevin M (19357e)

  10. Obama bought a really nice house from book sales.

    Kevin M (19357e)

  11. Mayor’s BOOKS.

    jeez.

    Kevin M (19357e)

  12. I don’t understand why anyone would buy a book by any living politician of any stripe. They contain exaggerated claims for credit of good things and avoidance of any responsibility for the bad things that happened. Any truth in the book serves as the bait to get you to swallow the lies. This is true of politicians I voted for and ones I voted against, and is true for the ones you voted for and against as well.
    Real books detailing the policies and the objective outcomes of the policies of our leaders would be long, dry, and require intellectual effort. No one has the patience for that.

    Fred (056bb0)

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